Monday, June 18, 2012

War of 1812 Ancestors

The Battle at Fort McHenry set the stage for Francis Scott Key’s Star Spangled Banner.

Today, 18 June 2012, marks the bicentennial of the War of 1812.  Two hundred years ago America was once again at war with Britain in what some refer to as our “second war of independence.”  In honor of all War of 1812 patriots, I thought I’d post about two of my ancestors who participated in the war.

Aaron Webster – Aaron Webster, son of Ashbel and Rachel (Price) Webster, was born 28 August 1775 in Hartford, Connecticut.He married Sarah Norton, presumably the daughter of Solomon and Sarah (Rexford) Norton, on 3 January 1797 at either Poultney, Vermont or Washington County, New York.2   According to two different books, Aaron served in the War of 1812 at Sackets Harbor, New York as a minute man.3   Both Aaron and his wife died in 1823 in Oakland County, Michigan.4   I have not located any additional information to confirm the assertions made in the two books about Aaron’s military service.

Robert Parks Robert Parks, son of Robert and Elizabeth (Hall) Parks, was born 12 February 1776 in Voluntown, Connecticut.5 He married Mary “Polly” Wheeler Smith about 1800.6   Robert died 29 June 1863, probably in Grand Rapids, Michigan.7 Several books mention his War of 1812 service, but again, I have not yet found anything concrete.  Following are some excerpts that discuss his military service and provide clues for additional research.

"April 27, 1810, he was commissioned Ensign of a regt. of militia, John Harris, Esq., Lieut. Col. commanding, Cayuga county, N.Y.  On March 2, 1814, he was commissioned Captain in the same regt." 8

"March 2, 1810, Captain Parks enlisted in the New York State Militia, and became a member of the 158th Regiment of New York Infantry in the War of 1812.  He was made captain of a company, and served as such until the close of the war." 9

You can see how these two contradict one another.  But at least there are many clues here to work with.  In the second reference, there is also a transcription of the Ensign commission, but there is no indication of where the original might be.

I hope one day to have a more complete picture of their.  I have a variety of sources to look at for both Aaron and Robert to hopefully uncover more information.  If you have any suggestions, please leave me a comment or send me an email.

1.  William Holcomb Webster and Rev. Melville Reuben Webster D. D., History and Genealogy of the Gov. John Webster Family of Connecticut With Numerous Portraits and Illustrations (Rochester, New York: E. R. Andrews Printing Co., 1915), 401. 

2.  Webster and Webster, History and Genealogy of the Gov. John Webster Family of Connecticut, 401; also Charles Fey, History of Freemasonry in Oakland County, MI (Royal Oak, Michigan: Royal Oak Lodge No. 464, 1949). 

3.  Ibid.

4.  Webster and Webster, History and Genealogy of the Gov. John Webster Family of Connecticut, 401; also Oakland County, Michigan, Probate Records 1822-1911, 1: 52-68, 88, 98-103, 109, 116, 242-244 and 3: 89, 92, 104, 178, 179, 211, 212, 225, 308, 326, 327, 335, Aaron Webster; FHL microfilm 973,902, item 1. 

5.  Frank Sylvester Parks, Genealogy of the Parke Families of Connecticut (Washington, D.C.: Privately printed, 1906), 72. 

6.  Joseph Webster GARRISON membership application, National Society, Sons of the American Revolution, Office of the Registrar General, Louisville. 

7. American Biographical History of Eminent and Self-Made Men with Portrait Illustrations on Steel: Michigan Volume (Cincinnati, Ohio: Western Biographical Publishing Company, 1878), 95.

8.  Parks, Genealogy of the Parke Families of Connecticut, 102. 

9.  American Biographical History of Eminent and Self-Made Men: Michigan Volume, 95.

Image Credit:  The image is from Wikipedia and is in the Public Domain.


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